The Chicken Thief

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Overview

In this wordless story that is both funny and sweet, a fox steals a hen away from her home. Bear, rabbit, and rooster give chase, but in a twist on the usual children's story, this fox is not a villain. Rather, he tenderly holds hen as he runs into the night. A funny and life-affirming story, The Chicken Thief defies expectations, enlivening the mind with its cleverness while going straight for the heart. This intelligent and charming book is great for all ages. A love story, a road movie, and a playful ...

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Overview

In this wordless story that is both funny and sweet, a fox steals a hen away from her home. Bear, rabbit, and rooster give chase, but in a twist on the usual children's story, this fox is not a villain. Rather, he tenderly holds hen as he runs into the night. A funny and life-affirming story, The Chicken Thief defies expectations, enlivening the mind with its cleverness while going straight for the heart. This intelligent and charming book is great for all ages. A love story, a road movie, and a playful speculation on stereotypes and misconceptions, The Chicken Thief makes for an unforgettable reading experience!

atrice Rodriguez was born in 1969. She received her degree from the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg, France, and works today as an illustrator, creating children's books as well as pictures for the press. She lives in France.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Rodriguez's wordless debut, a bear and rabbit are enjoying a peaceful lunch in the garden outside their cottage when a fox makes off with one of their hens. Their rooster wrings his wings melodramatically, and all three give chase. The book's squat format and panoramic spreads help build the tension—and comedy—in the scenes that follow: the fox, on the right, is always a step ahead, while the bear, the rabbit, and the rooster trail behind, beating through forests or crossing a stormy ocean on the bear's belly. Rodriguez succeeds in creating a distinctive personality for each of the characters, and her ability to capture the players' emotions via body language is masterful. The tenderness with which the fox carries the white hen makes it clear early on that his intentions are not malicious, and the mood changes to one of romantic intrigue. Readers will find themselves simultaneously cheering for the happy couple and sympathizing with the rooster, who's crushed. For readers who love a good chase—and who doesn't?—this one is a delight from beginning to end. Ages 4-7. (May)
From the Publisher

Publisher's Weekly Best Children's Books of 2010

School Library Journal Best Children's Books of 2010

A CCBC Choice, 2011

ABC Best Books for Children

Nominated for the Texas 2x2 Reading List

Nominated for the Rainbow Project

Capitol Choices 2011 Notable Books for Children & Young Adults

"Young readers ages 4-10 will delight in Ms. Rodriguez's delicate yet assured drawings." - The Wall Street Journal

"For readers who love a good chase - and who doesn't? - this one is a delight from beginning to end." - Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review

"The story closes with a surprise that kids will love [...] The layout is a great showcase for the wonderful paintings, which are all full of movement, drama, and a quietly goofy form of comedy. The colors and the sense of light are lovely, especially when the clear green of the forest sets off the orange fox and his little captive. A delightful wordless story." - School Library Journal, Starred Review

"Delightful ink-and-wash artwork follows the winsome animals from contryesque cottages to deep-hued night forests to bright, sunny shores. Rodriguez shifts the mood from the comic, when fox and chicken enjoy a candlelit game of chess in an inner-mountain cave, to the affectionate, and the small details invite close viewing. Taken together, the scenes in this enjoyable tale send appealing messages about the pitfalls of assumptions and the pleasure of unexpected friendship." - Booklist

"This book is delightful in every way." - PW Shelftalker

"The Chicken Thief will enthrall young readers with its tale told in exciting pictures from start to finish." - The Midwest Book Review

"A classic-to-be, this book is presented as the first in a new series of wordless concepts, a genre well worth exploring. With crisp, whimsical illustration, the author presents an amusing escapade [...] the climax will produce giggles rather than nightmares." - The Bloomsbury Review

"B. Rodriguez's The Chicken Thief and Fox and Hen Together are two of the most charming wordless picture books I've ever encountered. Check 'em out." - Nancy Pearl, nancypearl.com

"Delightful. Funny. Sweet, but not syrupy so. Don't miss this one." - Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

"Rodriguez has reinvented a story with a fun surprise ending." - missprint.wordpress.com

"The Chicken Thief goes on my list of superior wordless books for a child to savor." - pinkme.typepad.com

The Chicken Thief is named a top 10 book of 2010 by Hooray for Books, Old Town Alexandria, VA.

The Mystery Bookstore top ten for 2010, The Mystery Bookstore, Los Angeles.

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
The opening scene of this wordless book shows some animals greeting the morning. Rooster is on the rooftop crowing; Bear is yawning in the doorway of the thatched roof cottage; and Rabbit is throwing open the shutters. Three hens and five chicks are searching for tasty tidbits in the grass. Fox peeks out of the bushes with his tongue hanging out. The action begins in the second frame as Fox jumps out and grabs Chicken. Bear, Rabbit, and Rooster take chase. Fox covers Chicken's mouth as he rushes through the forest. Rabbit and Rooster ride on Bear's shoulders. As the journey continues through days and nights, it becomes evident that Fox is fond of Chicken. They cuddle together in sleep, play chess in a foxhole, and travel happily across the ocean in a boat. Chicken's friends follow her all the way and burst into Fox's home fighting mad. Chicken declares her love for Fox. Rooster is devastated, but they all abide by her decision and leave in the boat as Fox and Chicken, arm in arm (wing in paw?), wave from the shore. Appealing characters and comic action tell the story effectively without the need for text. "Stories without Words" series. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 1—The book opens with a group of animals waking up to a beautiful morning in their small house in the woods. But is that a fox lurking in the bushes? And does he have his eyes on a pretty white chicken? It is, and he does. The chase scenes that follow show a bear, rabbit, and rooster in tireless pursuit of the speedy fox with the chicken held tight in his arms. They go from the forest through the mountains until finally they reach the sea. The story closes with a surprise that kids will love. The pages are wide but not at all high, and the spreads have no white space. This layout is a great showcase for the wonderful paintings, which are full of movement, drama, and a quietly goofy form of comedy. The colors and sense of light are lovely, especially when the clear green of the forest sets off the orange fox and his little captive. A delightful wordless story.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
All is not what it seems in this sweet, funny wordless picture book about a fox who steals a chicken. When morning breaks, a little multispecies family sits down for breakfast al fresco. A fox leaps from the shrubbery, grabs a white chicken and makes a run for it, while she screams for help. He is pursued by a bear, a rabbit and a rooster through a variety of landscapes and over the course of days and nights. The chicken's friends never cease in their dogged pursuit, but sharp-eyed readers will notice a change: The fox cradles the chicken tenderly; in one nighttime hideaway they play a friendly game of chess. By the time bear, rabbit and rooster finally catch up to them, the chicken's feelings have undergone a sea change-is it Stockholm Syndrome? Regardless, the end puts readers and pursuers 180 degrees from where the story had them starting. Rodriguez's delicate line-and-watercolor paintings extend over disproportionately wide spreads (it opens to a 6" X 20" panorama), allowing children a wide-angle view of both lovely pastoral scenes and the comical capers taking place within them. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592700929
  • Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Series: Stories Without Words Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.44 (w) x 6.28 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Béatrice Rodriguez was born in 1969. She received her degree from the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg and works today as an illustrator, creating children's books as well as illustrations and cartoons for the press. She lives in France.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This Thief Will Steal Your Heart

    I am not a tremendously big fan of wordless picture books, but I make an exception for this French import, a debut from newcomer Rodriguez. In the opening spread, a group of animals awakes in a bucolic setting; soon they are lunching peacefully. Then, quelle horreur! A fox makes off with one of their hens. The chase is on. Rodriguez makes great use of the book's rectangular format -- panoramas follow the animal friends as they pursue the thief through the woods, over mountains, across seas (make note of what they use for a boat!), UNTIL -- What? Wait! Is this really a kidnapping? Or is it something else entirely? For sure, it's a delight from beginning to end.

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    Posted July 20, 2010

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